Thursday, June 10, 2010
To all AI designers out there, program for compassion not empathy
Do you know, the difference between an Aspergarian and a psychopath? The answer is probably found in how they would respond to a Vioght-Kampf test from Blade Runner. "You are walking through the desert, you see a tortoise, you flip it over onto it's back..." An Aspie might state that they would flip the tortoise back over once it was obvious it couldn't do that itself; a psychopath would say the same, if they had figured it out, in reality they would most likely watch it bake in the sun. The difference is compassion, not empathy, the ability to gauge another's emotional responses is secondary to being able to "feel" for another.
I am stating this because some involved in the field of AI research have warned to beware of creating a superintelligence with "hyper-Asperger's". And I am worried that this may result in programmers designing an AI with a database of emotional responses and what usually triggers them, but forgetting to program actual compassion. So, at the very least we should prevent AIs from seeing Blade Runner and do a compassion test as well as the Turing test.